The Ten Commandments of Hearing

I often find it hard to really ‘hear’ what people are really saying in an academic argument. There’s the expectation that I would get to the heart of a book in my first read through but there’s usually little time to ponder it over as the next essay deadline looms. Often a writer will be walking around on campus or at a conference, and we will have a conversation – I’ve found many times that I have misunderstood their argument. Hearing is imperative to great research, as a key word or comment can unlock a Pandora’s chest, or close a door. But it’s also imperative for great living. So I thought I’d pass on this great 10 commandments I found somewhere. I’m the first to the altar call, so to speak…

Ten Commandments for Hearing – David Augsburger

1) I will understand, then judge. I will suspend judgement, postpone evaluation, defer closure until the other feels heard.

2) I will not fill in the gaps with my ideas. I will listen to you, not to my improvements, my embellishments, or my supporting data.

3) I will not assume that the intent in you and the impact on me are one and the same. I will not infer that you said what I heard, think as I thought, meant what I felt.

4) I will attend to your words, your feelings, your meanings.

5) I will listen to your whole message, even if I would rather not.

6) I will avoid wishful hearing. I will not use my heart or head to filter the message.

7) I will test your meanings and my meanings until they meet.

8) I will listen to your full statement without using the time to polish my response or prepare my argument.

9) I will not be afraid to listen, to change, to grow.

10) I will respect your right to be heard, I will claim my right to be heard.

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